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The Irish Museum of Modern Art and its Features

When we talked about Dublin attractions we mentioned the Irish Museum of Modern Art, which we want to tell you about now. It doesn’t matter whether you are a lover of modern art all you have to do is be, even slightly, interested in historic buildings and great landscape design and you should enjoy your time there.

Actually, we don’t really understand this type of art, but after we discovered the history of the foundation of this museum we decided to visit it. And the entire experience was way better them we could have imagined.

What really impressed us weren’t the actual exhibitions in the Irish Museum of Modern Art, which we didn’t find incredibly interested. The most impressive things about this museum are; its location, its architecture, its history and landscape design. All these thing together make the Irish Museum of Modern Art one of Dublin’s most important historical monuments.

Irish Museum of Modern Art

The museum itself is located in a place that is a thousand years old. And that place is home to the famous Bully’s Acre cemetery. This cemetery is the resting place of Irish king Brian Boru, who finally defeated the Vikings in 1014 and buried his son and grandson after the battle of Clontarf.

But the actual building of the Irish Museum of Modern Art was built some time between 1680 and 1684. During that time it was called the Royal Hospital Kilmainham. This hospital was built on the place where the medieval hospital and monastery ‘of the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem’ was founded in 1174!

The Royal Hospital Kilmainham got its name because it replaced the VII century Early Christian settlement of Cill Maighneann. Even the prison museum - Kilmainham Gaol, located nearby has the name of Kilmainham.

The old Royal Hospital Kilmainham and the current National Museum of Modern Art, was built using cobble-stone and is shaped in the form of a square with an internal courtyard. The cost for building this place was paid thanks to a levy on soldiers’ pay. The Decorative Arts and History Museum also has a similar classical square design.

The Gardener's House in the Formal Gardens

This hospital was built thanks to the leadership of James Butler, also know as the First Duke of Ormonde and because of his years of exile in France and his love of the Renaissance style he decided to build this building in that exact style.

The architect who built the Royal Hospital Kilmainham was William Robinson, who also built one of Dublin’s oldest libraries (Marsh’s Library). You can also add the Great Hall to his successful projects, where you can find one of Ireland’s best collection of old portraits. Unfortunately we have not yet got the opportunity to visit this gallery.

The Former Garden

But one thing that impressed us was the Formal Garden. As soon as the hospital went into business this park was used for growing flowers with healing properties and was then given to the head doctor for private use.

In 1704, the small ‘Gardeners House’ was built there. And taking into account that it was built by plan of the famous architect Edward Lovett Pearce, who also made the plan for the Parliament house (which is now the Bank of Ireland), you can probably understand how beautiful this building is without actually seeing it.

With time a beautiful landscape design was built in this garden, in a French style to be exact, and now you can see this garden in all its glory. Actually the landscape design of this garden impressed us so much because we haven’t seen a small garden in Ireland designed like this. If you want to convince yourself about this then you should look at the photographs liked to this post in our photo gallery.

Richmond Tower

In conclusion we would like to note that if you are a lover of modern style then it is best that you visit this place on either Friday or Saturday at 2:30 when you can have a tour of the exhibitions with a guide.

If you are visiting this place to explore the architectural complex of Dublin then don’t forget to also see Richmond Tower, which is currently used as a pedestrian entrance to the museum. It was moved to its current place in 1847, when it started to cause traffic problem because of the opening of Huston Station, located not too far away from the museum.

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Richmond Tower

I was looking for the name of that Richmond Tower for an Ireland Expat blog post of my own when I found your blog. Great post! Thanks for sharing.


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